About Frugal Fish

I grew up on Elim Bible Institute, Lima NY & Pinecrest Bible Training Center (Now the Whitestone Academy), Salisbury Center, NY, where my father was on staff. I have read the Bible through, every year since I was 13. I moved to Fairfield and started playing the piano at the Foursquare Church. I became secretary/treasurer and served for 24 years, stepping down due to a health issue. My family now attends the Fairfield satellite of Faith Christian Outreach Center, Mt. Pleasant, where we serve in the worship band. We have three grown children and one grandchild. ©2009-2018 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

Fulfilling a Promise

I woke up at 3:39 a.m. because I had to use the bathroom. I put on my robe, slippers, and looked for the moon to watch the eclipse. I finally found it in the west obscured by clouds.

I looked on Facebook and realized the eclipse occurred on Thursday night. I even shared an article about it but didn’t read it because I thought I already knew the pertinent information.

I missed it completely.

The blood moon was one of the signs that Jesus told us would happen right before he returned. I read those verses every year, see Joel 2:31; Acts 2:20.

Sunday and Monday at a prophecy conference, Joseph Morris spoke about the signs and mentioned the blood moon and lunar eclipse on the 19th. I heard about this event several times this week and still missed it!

These signs show us God is ready to fulfill a promise to send Jesus Christ back to earth a second time. Yes, you have heard this before. Yes, you have read all about it. Yes, you have all the pertinent information but you could still miss it. Just like I missed the eclipse.

If you are unsure, there is a prayer posted on the page of what I “Read Today.” Click on it in the menu.

Jesus is coming back. God promised.

“God is not man, that he might lie, or a son of man, that he might change his mind. Does he speak and not act, or promise and not fulfill?” Numbers 23:19

Christian Standard Bible

He will fulfill it and I will see you later when Jesus comes.

2009-2021 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved

Clear Out the Old

I was up at five, (thank you time change), and turned on the swag light over the kitchen table. It flickered.

I pulled the cord out and it sparked! I yelled for David. I had the curtain in my left hand and the sparking cord in my right hand. The light was plugged in behind the stove. David moved the stove and unplugged it.

I’m heartbroken. This is where I work, read, paint, sew, craft, dream, plan. I just added a crystal garland to this light and decided it was finished.

I moved to the couch and started my devotions.

“…clear out the old to make room for the new,” Leviticus 26:10.

Christian Standard Bible

This light was a Christmas gift from my in-laws after our first child was born. It started life as a brass light. I wrote about my improvements here. Yes, it is old!

I wonder how many other “old” things I am holding onto that I should be releasing. I keep painting, improving, and dressing up things that I should replace. That light came close to starting a fire!

Since then, I am looking at things differently. Is my basement full of old things that I should just throw away? (I’m thinking of a bag of towels.) How can God bless me with new things when my home is stuffed with old things?

Please tell me I am not alone.

2009-2021 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

Just in Case

I was exposed to COVID on Monday. I wore a mask and little white gloves when I picked up the patient at the ER – just in case. I only spent 5 minutes with her but I spent a few hours with her daughter.

Tuesday, her daughter’s test came back positive. I cleaned the house. I also dusted the baseboards and cleaned the basement – just in case. I canceled practice in my home and told the worship leader I may not be at church on Sunday.

Wednesday, I made a grocery list and menus for 2 weeks – just in case. My verse was Leviticus 9:4, “…For today the Lord is going to appear to you.” CSB

I watched church online and was reminded to encourage myself with Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs. There is nothing better to battle fear and worry than to sing praise to God!

Day 4 of my quarantine and I read this: Leviticus 13:11, “…the priest must pronounce him unclean. He need not quarantine him, for he is unclean.” CSB

It’s funny how I looked at things differently while under quarantine. I prepared for a disaster. Wouldn’t my finances be better if I always planned ahead and was ready for anything? How many times did I say to myself, “Don’t put off ’til tomorrow what you can do today?”

I worked on several things that I have been procrastinating over. I got out the flash drive from our son’s wedding to choose pictures to purchase. (Yes, it was three years ago. Don’t judge. The flash drive was accidentally put in a drawer.) I made seven salads and ordered a credit check.

I finished the week strong. I caught up with the laundry, the reports, updated our tax sheets, cleaned the computer, backed it up, and ran a virus check. They found malware but quickly quarantined it. (That is one quarantine for which I am grateful!)

I finished my work and realized. I didn’t have one symptom! I texted the worship leader to let him know I would be there to play on Sunday. My verse today was: Leviticus 15:5, “…wash his clothes, and bathe with water, and he will remain unclean until evening.” CSB

Even though I did not contract COVID, I still had to wash my clothes, including my coat, bathe, and stay away from others.

Today I made my task list and decided to continue working as if disaster was right around the corner. David saw my list and did one large project for me because he had the day off. Woo-hoo!

I practiced and look forward to playing at church tomorrow. I realize we are incredibly lucky. Many Christians do not have the freedom to go to church. In the Bible, only the High Priest was allowed in God’s presence, once a year.

Leviticus 16:2, “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell your brother Aaron that he may not come whenever he wants into the holy place behind the curtain in front of the mercy seat on the ark or else he will die, because I appear in the cloud above the mercy seat.’ ”

Christian Standard Bible

We get an extra hour of sleep tonight. I encourage you to come early to church. You don’t want to miss one song because praise is your weapon against fear, worry, and sadness.

2009-2021 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

God Will Show You

“Although brain development is subject to significant individual variation, most experts suggest that the brain is fully developed by age 25.”

https://mentalhealthdaily.com/2015/02/18/at-what-age-is-the-brain-fully-developed/

If your brain is not fully developed until you are 25, then you are not an adult until then. If you live to be 100, you are not middle-aged until 50 to 75 years.

I had a birthday this week, and as much as I hate to admit it, I am middle-aged. At my yearly physical, I found there are perks. I will never need to take another pregnancy test, LOL! I am grateful to report my mammogram was clear. I will not be undergoing another lumpectomy. It was all good news

I wondered if there was something new, I should be doing. My daughter-in-law has more faith in me than I have in myself. She approached me last weekend and asked me to make a penguin costume for my grandson.

Saturday…

She sent me a link to look at the costume she wanted. After I agreed to make it, she ran to Hobby Lobby for supplies. She dropped them off that evening. There was no pattern!

To make the job even more difficult, my sewing machine stopped. I oiled it but it would only run for 30 seconds and then just stopped. Luckily, my daughter Laura lent me her sewing machine.

Sunday…

I was up at 4:00 am reading the directions and looking for shortcuts – Velcro dots instead of a zipper! Zigzag stitch instead of bias pieces to reinforce the openings.

Gideon thought I was crazy when I measured him from hairline to the end of his nose, shoulder to fingertip, shoulder to the elbow, shoulder to knees, around his elbow, and his ankle. To confuse him further, Rachel took off his shoe and I outlined it on the back of the instructions. Then I measured the hole in the shoe!

Monday…

I said a prayer, and using a pair of his pajamas as a guide, I cut out the front piece and two back pieces. I cut out 2 left sides. (Sigh.) I cut a right side out.

I cut out the center white panel and tried to sew it to the black, front piece. Laura’s machine was temperamental. It sewed a straight stitch no matter which one I selected. It has one speed – slow. The flannel kept folding over. I had to stop every half-inch to move the presser foot! I stuffed the white panel and called it a day.

Tuesday…

My confidence was lacking. Then I read today’s chapters and saw this:

Exodus 27:8, “…You are to make it just as it was shown to you…”

Christian Standard Bible

I said another prayer and asked God to show me how to make the costume. I put a piece of paper over the shoe outline and held it up to the sliding glass door. I traced the outline of the shoe. Then I measured out 2 inches around it. I cut out the oval. I folded it twice lengthwise and made an angled cut. When I folded it flat, I had a pattern for the webbed feet.

I cut out four. I folded the pattern in half and found the center of the shoe hole. I cut out 1 1/4″ to make a 2 1/2″ hole. I sewed one bootie together and stuffed it.

I used the measurement from the nose to the hairline as a guide for the length of the beak. I sewed it together. God nudged me to a drinking glass that was the perfect size opening for the whites of the eyes. Then he reminded me of the cookie scoop that was the size of the blacks of the eyes. I cut out patterns and laid them on the beak on top of the knit hat Rachel had provided.

Derek brought Gideon over after work for a fitting. Everything worked! He even liked the large eyes.

Wednesday…

It’s my birthday and I am determined to finish the costume. I sewed together the flippers, second bootie, and sewed the beak and eyes to the knit hat before lunch. I started to relax.

After lunch, I hemmed the body of the penguin. I didn’t leave enough room for the elastic in 2 places. I had to rip both of those sections out and stitch them again. Then I threaded the elastic in. I sewed the flippers on with three rows of stitching. The final touch was a small bow tie that I made and sewed onto the front.

I took it to Rachel after church. She said “Happy Birthday! What did you do today?” I looked at the costume.

Gideon’s Penguin Costume, 2021

Thursday…

God reminded me that I am appointed by name, filled with His Spirit, wisdom, understanding, and ability in every craft. I can design artistic works and am a wise, skilled artisan, see Exodus 31:1, 2. That is why, with His help, I was able to make a penguin costume without a pattern! His Holy Spirit guided me.

Like Moses, I had to cut out the pattern to the back twice, see Exodus 34:1. But I look forward to what He will have me create next, see Exodus 38:23.

2009-2021 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

Now What!

“…My computer was frozen on the ‘Initializing System Restore’ screen for three hours!

I had tried running backup. I didn’t think it worked. I checked the memory in the external hard drive. It wasn’t full. I decided I must have deleted something that I shouldn’t have the last time I cleaned the disk.

Finally, I shut the computer down and restarted it. Then I checked the ‘last backup date’ again. It was today. We didn’t have much to back up so it only took 3 seconds.

I thought it was October 29th. (Sigh.) …”

Journal, October 22, 2021

That was one disaster that I brought on myself. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place because my tech guy was promoted to heaven. I’m sure he had a good laugh. I am grateful for all he taught me and that he made me do it instead of doing it for me.

Disasters everywhere…

I read about disasters this week in Exodus. Each plague was a disaster but those who followed the instructions of the Lord took precautions and were unharmed, see Exodus 9:20, 21. Some plagues, God only sent to the Egyptians. But these verses showed that he spared those among Pharaoh’s officials who listened.

Isaiah 32:17, “The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.”

New International Version

It’s a matter of heart…

After each plague, Pharaoh hardened his heart. Each plague showed that God was mightier than their gods who were represented by flies, gnats, frogs, etc. God struck to the heart of their beliefs. They believed that a person’s heart was weighed when they died to see if they lived in the afterlife.

“…the Weighing of the Heart ceremony. The deceased person’s heart was placed on one side of the scales; on the opposite side was a feather, which represented standards of truth and justice. … If the heart and feather balanced, the deceased lived in the afterlife…the ‘heart’ of Pharaoh was hardened or, …’was heavy.’ This might be a polemic against Egyptian theology by asserting that God is the One who ‘weighs the heart.’ “

Holyland Illustrated Bible, “The Afterlife: An Egyptian View” by Harold R. Mosley

The worst plague…

The firstborn of every man and animal in Egypt would die but in the Israelite land, not even a dog would snarl, see Exodus 11:7. Their animals slept through that horrible night.

Sometimes, before we can move forward, we have to turn back.

The Israelites left Egypt, and shortly after, Pharaoh mustered his army to bring them back to slavery. Then God gave them the oddest instruction: “Turn back and camp.”

Exodus 14:1, 2, “Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 2) ‘Tell the Israelites to turn back and camp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Midgol and the sea; you must camp in front of Baal-zephon, facing it by the sea.’ “

Christian Standard Bible

According to abarim-publications.com:

  • Pi-hahiroth means the “edge of the hollows” or “mouth of caverns.”
  • Baal-zephon means “Lord of the hidden things.”
  • Migdol means an encampment in the mountains.

“…an enigmatic place where Israel, with Pharaoh’s army hot on their trail, was told to ‘return’ to and ‘camp before’ … Doing so would place them ‘between’ Migdol and the sea and in front of Baal-zephon…”

Abarim-publications.com/meaning/pi-hahiroth.html

The Israelites were at the edge of the hollows, between the mountains and the sea, and in front of “Hidden Things!” The sea was a seemingly impossible obstacle. But our God, the “Lord of the Hidden Things,” was there ready to show them a new path, that only He could create. This path not only moved them forward but also destroyed their enemies.

Pharaoh thought they were wandering around the land in confusion and the wilderness had boxed them in, see Exodus 14:3. But Moses said: “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and see the Lord’s salvation. The Lord will fight for you, and you must be quiet.” (Exodus 14:13, 14).

Don’t try to figure it out. Don’t talk about it. Don’t speculate. God is moving. He drove the sea back with a powerful east wind, see Exodus 14:21. The Israelites were going east. They had to walk into the wind with walls of water on their right and left. Those walls came back down on Pharaoh, his horses, chariots, and army, killing them all.

You may be between a rock and a hard place or boxed in by mountains, caves, a sea, and the unknown. Don’t be afraid. Stand firm. Be quiet and face the wind. I pray that your disaster turns out to not be a disaster at all…like my computer.

“Feelings are not a choice. Your behaviors and thoughts are a choice.”

Mel Robbins

2009-2021 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

Hindsight is 20/20

My husband ran into my trigonometry teacher at the football game last night. Mrs. W. asked why I had not been writing posts. (I felt like I forgot to turn in my homework, lol!) I didn’t plan on it. I wrote a 3-page post on Sunday, October 3rd but decided to wait until Monday to type it up.

Big mistake. Monday, I got hit with an infection that took 2 rounds of antibiotics to kill. I should have taken the time to publish it that day.

Remember me?

Sometimes, I feel forgotten when I am sick for more than a day or two. I have friends who have battled an illness for years: diabetes, heart problems, cancer, to name a few. I’m sure they feel like God has forgotten them.

God did not forget us. He not only cares for us, he cares for our pets, our food-producing animals, and the wild animals whose sightings bring joy to our hearts. He cares that your dog misses you and that you miss him. He knows you need the fresh eggs your chickens provide. He blesses us by keeping them healthy and fruitful. He knows how it warms our heart to see a doe with her fawn and the awe a multi-racked stag inspires.

Genesis 8:1, “God remembered Noah, as well as all the wildlife and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters began to subside.”

Christian Standard Bible

Another storm…

He knows about our storm. He keeps us safe in the middle of it. We don’t understand the turmoil, just as Noah didn’t understand the flood because it had never rained!

Then a different storm arises. The wind blows against our ark of safety battering it searching for any crack to seep through. Why would God allow another storm to hit us on top of the first?

We feel the wind and so does the water. The wind is there to remove the effects of the first storm. The second battle is conquering the first battle.

Battles are long. The wind blew on the ark for 150 days, see Genesis 8:3. That is almost half of a year! Noah felt the wind blowing him around but God was blowing him to a place of rest above the storm, see Genesis 8:4. The ark was still and out of the water.

Noah lived in the ark for three more months while the wind drove the water back and the sun evaporated it. He went into the ark on the 17th day of the second month in the 600th year, see Genesis 7:11. He came out of the ark on the 1st day of the first month in the 601st year, see Genesis 4:13. He slogged around in the mud until the 27th of the month when the earth dried, see Genesis 8:14.

I wish I had known…

Two years ago, I bought a diffuser. I used eucalyptus oil in it to treat my sinuses. A patch broke out under my left eye. A month later, I started my first of 13 rounds of Prednisone to halt the rash on my face. It kept coming back.

Then they found a lump at my routine mammogram that had to be removed. I was the best patient. I stayed in bed and didn’t overdo it because I had trouble seeing anything! I rejoiced when Covid-19 shut down everything. I didn’t have to face anyone. I sent pictures of my face to my doctor online and he treated me through them.

It was 18 months later before I could see my dermatologist. He pinpointed the diffuser as the source. But after years of the maximum dose of antihistamines and decongestants, I had another problem – dry eye. The tears that keep my eye lubricated dried up and the tears normally released during pain or sorrow ran constantly.

Like Noah, I had an unrelenting storm followed by a second storm, and a third (a case of Covid-19), and a fourth (a C-Diff infection). Each of these battles was over the last two years.

Looking back…

I can see how God brought good out of each. I kept trying to write but the constant wiping of my eyes was doing serious damage. After the lumpectomy, I laid in bed listening to the TV and left my eyes alone.

The Covid-19 battle showed me that I was stronger than I realized. After all of that Prednisone, I feared I had no immunity at all. Yet, I battled Covid-19 without hospitalization.

And the C-Diff? It reminded me of the importance of eating healthy. I slacked off and ate more sugar. I couldn’t stop the weight gain from the Prednisone, so why did it matter?

It did.

God remembers me. He cares enough to send fawns to nap in my backyard. I don’t have pets or livestock so he fills my yard with rabbits, squirrels, ground squirrels, and a wide variety of birds.

Napping deer
Fawns napping in my backyard.

He cares for you, too. He will bring something good out of all of your battles.

Had I known what would happen, I never would have bought that diffuser! God had Noah prepare for the year he spent in the ark. He had a hundred years to prepare, see Genesis 5:32. What would you have done differently in 2019 if you knew what was going to happen in 2020?

Yesterday, I read about Joseph being reunited with his brothers, see Genesis 43:34. This was the second year of the famine. Joseph knew the famine would last seven years.

What if we are in the second year of seven years of hardship? Would we do anything differently?

2009-2021 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

The Investment That Never Stops Multiplying

“If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? …” Genesis 4:7.

Christian Standard Bible

Today I read about Cain and Abel. Cain brought some produce and Abel offered a lamb. Abel’s sacrifice was accepted and Cain’s was not. He knew a sacrifice required blood. When his parents Adam and Eve sinned, God sacrificed animals and made clothing from the skins for them, (see Genesis 3:21).

Cain also didn’t give the first of his harvest, called the “first fruits.” He brought “some” of the land’s produce. A sacrifice comes from the first items harvested.

Our gifts to God come from the top. We cannot honor God by giving him what is leftover.

Everything we give to God is a seed. You harvest what you plant. Plant the best!

Giving to God is like becoming pregnant. The child grows and no one knows they are there. After several months, it is obvious a child is growing. Soon, everyone can see the new baby.

The child never stops growing. Years later, the child gives you a grandchild and they both keep growing. The grandchild matures and gives you a great-grandchild. Your child is still growing even as a grandparent!

Every seed given to God will give birth to something. The seed never stops growing or producing.

Like an acorn that grows into an oak tree. How many acorns are produced over the lifetime of an oak tree?

And the oak trees from the acorns born the first year produce an immeasurable number of acorns. And they just keep multiplying.

We invest money hoping to add to our net worth. But the money we give to God multiplies and never stops.

It’s harvest time in Iowa. The farmers with the best yields planted the best seeds.

2009-2021 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

The Chapters I “Read Today” are from the “Relevant” Bible Reading Guide

Overview of the “Relevant” Bible Reading Guide Year

Life of Christ

Lives of Kings Saul, David, and Solomon

Break at Easter Week

Lives of Kings of Judah and Israel

Pentecost Through Final Judgment

Judgment Comes to the Kings

Creation Through the Book of Ruth

Christmas Story

Calling of Disciples

* * * * * * *

  • Relevant: Read about Christmas at Christmas.
  • Timely: Takes 10-15 minutes.
  • Exciting: Start the year reading of the miracles of Christ.
  • Comparable: Read the same story out of each book together.
  • Unexpected: Switch our reading at Easter and Pentecost.
  • Chronological: Read prophecy books after the chapters when written.
  • Perpetual: Start on any day of the year.
  • Unique: Each year is different but covers all the chapters.

* * * * * * *

How I Wrote the “Relevant” Bible Reading Guide

I’ve read the Bible since I was 13 and used several guides. I desired to read about Christ’s birth on Christmas and The Passion at Easter.

I wanted to start the New Year reading something exciting. I didn’t want to get bogged down in the book of Numbers in the winter.

I also wanted to read a similar amount of verses every day. I counted the words in each chapter. Then set the daily readings by the average number of words.

I started with the Christmas story, assigning Luke 1 to Christmas Eve. It tells of the events leading up to the birth of Christ. The story was in 3 books, I went back and forth assigning the reading chronologically. We end the year reading of Christ calling the twelve disciples.

Using the New International Version Study Bible’s chart of the Parables of Christ, I put the chapters of the books of the gospels together.

I scheduled the chapters about the Crucifixion and Resurrection to Easter week. We will read about the “Triumphal Entry” on “Palm Sunday.” We read about “The Last Supper” on “Maundy Thursday.” “The Crucifixion” covers Friday and Saturday, and “The Resurrection” on “Easter Sunday.” The day after Easter we read of “The Ascension.”

On “Pentecost Sunday,” we switch to reading Acts. It was only natural to follow the events of the early church. You stop in different places in Acts and read the letters to the various churches.

That finished the chapters in the New Testament. I had no idea how to plan the Old Testament. The answer came during a Sunday school class taught by Joe Goudy…

“The first day of the Jewish New Year was the day God created the earth.”

I was so excited! The day varies each year, (in September or the beginning of October). I set October 1 as the date to start reading in Genesis. It makes sense to study history in the Bible when our kids are in school.

1 Samuel tells the story of the first King of Israel. When we finish reading the gospels, Jesus has just ascended to heaven. He promised to return as King of Kings. It seemed natural to read the stories of the earthly kings.

When assigning chapters in 1 Samuel, I noted the same stories recorded in 1 Chronicles. I matched the chapters up so that we would read the accounts together.

While reading of King David, I remembered he wrote most of the Psalms. I thought…

“Wouldn’t it be nice to read the Psalms right after reading the events?”

I slowly went through the Psalms looking for clues about their subject and date. Sometimes the clues were in the title. Other times I had to scour the notes at the bottom of the page.

I assigned David’s, Solomon’s and Moses’ Psalms next to the chapters of events. (I never realized Moses wrote a Psalms!) There were Psalms written before the exile and after the exile. I assigned them to the corresponding books and chapters.

When I reached the time of the prophets I hit another snag. I wanted to read the prophecies chronologically. Once again I scoured the footnotes and the notes at the front of each book. I recorded the dates and assigned the books chronologically. The chapters referring to a certain date, king, or event, are with them.

Easter is on a different day every year. It is during the time we are reading the history of the kings. It is simple to pause and read the Easter chapters. Then start on the next king after Easter week.

We pause again to start Acts on “Pentecost Sunday.” We read through Revelation which is about earth’s judgment. Then we continue with the various kings’ judgment.

At the end of the Old Testament, the temple and the Jerusalem wall are rebuilt. We read the first chapters of 1 Chronicles. They list the names from Adam to those who moved back after the exile. We study those chapters in September when children return to school. The list of names is right before we read Genesis.

The beauty of the “Relevant” Bible Reading Guide is there is no beginning or end. It is perpetual, with yearly adjustments for Easter and Pentecost Sunday. You can start at any time. It takes 10-15 minutes for each assigned reading.

©2009-2021 thisyearsbiblereadingguide.com. All Rights Reserved.

The Secret to Happiness

Psalms 128 is one of the chapters that I “Read Today.” It was written after the Hebrews returned from 70 years of captivity in Babylon. There was only rubble, like Ground Zero twenty years ago. The temple, major buildings, and most of the houses had been razed and burned to the ground. Their captors took everything. They had to start from scratch.

The Psalm is a “Song of Ascents” meaning it was sung as they walked up to the temple. But the temple was gone. They survived losing everything and found God was faithful.

Its 6 verses reveal the secret to happiness:

  1. Walking in the ways of the Lord.
  2. Eating what your hands worked for.
  3. A healthy wife and strong children.
  4. The blessing from the Lord.
  5. Seeing the prosperity of Jerusalem.
  6. Seeing your children’s children.

The best food I ever tasted was the vegetables that grew in my garden. I remember once planting vegetables in a flower bed. At the end of the season, I found only one carrot grew but that was the best carrot I ever tasted!

You will never understand until you have grandchildren. Your baby’s baby is the most precious person.

Verse 2 summed it up: “You will be happy, and it will go well for you.” Christian Standard Version

We think our circumstances have to be perfect before we can be happy. That is backward. God gives us joy despite our circumstances. Happiness fades; joy is eternal.

2009-2021 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

Update from What I “Read Today”

When the Coronavirus “shelter in place” order came, I felt relief. I battled a rash on my face and watery, itchy eyes for months. I didn’t want to go anywhere.

The rash was a reaction to the Eucalyptus oil in my diffuser. The dermatologist said that I could not use a diffuser, scented candles, or perfume.

The first time I had to “shelter in place” was Labor Day weekend in 2004. The allergy shots didn’t work, even though we started over three times, and my only option was to avoid allergens.

Painting is one way I fill the hours. It was difficult with watery eyes but last year, during several rounds of Prednisone, I painted every room, ceiling, closet, shelf, and started painting furniture!

“Don’t despise the day of small things”

My husband bought some kitchen chairs at a friend’s garage sale last spring. They are black with oak seats. They have gold appliques on the backs and it didn’t fit my style.

We had family over for Easter and I wanted to paint the chairs before then. But there was no time. The most scuffed part of the chairs was the bottom segment of the legs. I painted just those segments. No one noticed but I smiled every time I entered the kitchen.

I painted one section of one chair every chance I could. I finished them on September 1st. I’m glad I didn’t wait until I had time to do them all at once!

“Two streams of golden oil pouring through two gold conduits”

“Where do I post the interest?” asked David.

“In the same line as the IRA,” I replied.

Granted the amount is not a lot! But I learned a secret from “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S. Clason. You want to invest the interest no matter how small.

If I leave it in my account it will get spent but if I invest it in stocks or bonds it will grow. The goal is to have multiple streams of income when we retire.

“Fully obey the Lord”

Another way I fill the hours is to play the piano. I am in limbo at the moment because I flunked my allergy test. How? I had a build-up of antihistamines in my system. There were no reactions on the prick test. We are waiting for a killing frost and then I will stop meds for two weeks and test again. I am staying inside except for a few hours on Sunday mornings when I play the keyboard for church.

I started playing for services when I was 16. I remember one worship leader asking me to practice for 15 minutes a day. I balked but I just had my second baby in two years and was a bit overwhelmed.

After a hiatus of 8 years, I started playing again. Boy did I practice then! I had to learn 4 new songs a week until I caught up. My new worship leader asked me to memorize the songs. I balked again. I was doing well just learning them.

Finally, I obeyed and started memorizing the music. There is such freedom to play without worrying about losing your place. I watch my fingers, and thanks to daily practice, the muscles remember where to go when my brain is not sure.

There is more to playing for a church service than following the music. You are there to aid in worship and must remember to worship through your fingers.

Last night I practiced an older song. I shut my eyes and sang along. It was me and God. That was when I felt I “fully obeyed the Lord.”

“Turn a pleasant land into desolation”

This is a beautiful time in Iowa. The crops are fully grown. Now we wait for the corn and beans to dry in the fields. Next month harvest will begin. The fields will look desolate without their covering of crops.

It is good to remember when I receive a blessing there will be a time of emptiness. If I continue to plant seeds all along, I will have a harvest that doesn’t end.

“Streets filled with boys and girls playing”

I was pregnant with our first child when we bought this house. The neighbor across the street had an empty nest. She told me she loved watching our children play in the front yard.

She passed away and a few years ago a young couple moved in. Their oldest was learning to ride a bicycle. His dad ran alongside him for a time or two. After the first trip down the street, he switched from holding the bicycle seat to laying his hand on his son’s back. His son knew he was still right there beside him but he was responsible to keep his balance. (That is how God works.)

David and I watched from our couch as they went back and forth a few times. We both jumped up and cheered when he took off on his own. Now I am the one watching the children playing in the streets.

“It may seem impossible”

I still battle the red, watery eyes. The ophthalmologist said it is dry eye. I have to get over it because we are scheduled to visit Israel next spring.

The trip has been postponed four times because of the pandemic. We sacrificed our truck, satellite TV, and several small things to pay for this trip. I trust that God has a plan.

“Don’t be afraid, let your hands be strong”

I refuse to give up on the Israel trip. I made a shadowbox of gifts others brought back from Israel. It’s the first thing I see when I wake up. I will keep hope alive.

“Speak the truth; make true and sound decisions”

My husband and I enjoy playing Spider Solitaire. He plays on the weekends and I play while I eat lunch. Sometimes, I play until I win. Tuesday, was one of those times. I am ashamed to admit that I played for 4 hours.

While I soaked my eyes for the third time, God whispered, “Spider is drying your eyes out.”

When we are looking at a screen, we don’t blink as often as normal. My concentration was such that I barely blinked at all!

I determined to set a timer on my phone and only spend 10 minutes at a time looking at a screen. I used it for Facebook and email, too. Amazingly, I won in 10 minutes yesterday! Today, I lost.

“Love truth and peace”

I told David about my long session and my decision. He will keep me accountable. When I hid my Spider Solitaire addiction, I felt guilt and remorse. Now that I have a plan, I have peace.

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